Stephanie is a high school freshman from New Jersey. She loves the summertime and enjoys going to the gym and free writing.
You may be nearing the end of your school year, but you still have a couple of months left. Your teachers will really be trying your patience as the season comes to a close and finals readily creep up on you. Face it! Knowing how to deal with different types of teachers is a difficult task. Each one of your teachers is an individual person, after all, with his or her own preferences and pet peeves. While true that teachers are supposed to grade students by their work, making an effort to get on your instructor’s good side may help boost your grade from a C+ to B-, or give you the miracle two extra points you need on your exams. Need advice on how to please your teachers? Read on to learn about five general types of teachers and how to please them all.
Name: The Know-it-All
Qualities: Strict grader, loves perfection, hardly gives out As, suggests own ways of studying and preparing for tests, difficult test/quiz giver, assigns impossible homework, openly gives her opinion on everything, eats students for breakfast
Favorite Saying: “Tsk tsk. You should have studied more.”
Good Points: After having this teacher, you can survive any class. You’ll also learn a lot of detailed material as well as useless facts that you may want to use should you ever decide to apply for Jeopardy.
Bad Points: Getting good grades in her class will seem like pulling teeth. She may also have a rotten attitude and may drive you crazy at times with the workload she assigns.
How to Please: Stay very organized and make sure you’re aware of any upcoming quizzes, tests, projects, or homework assignments – try to be prepared in case any ‘pop’ quizzes decide to make their way into her schedule. The Know-it-All generally likes when students put a little more effort than required into their work, so try to go above and beyond when completing assignments. The Know-it-All may not offer a lot of extra credit, so when and if she does be sure to take advantage of it. Play by her rules. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them…just remember that you won’t have her as a teacher forever.
1 Step Further: If you’re worried about your grade in her class, talk to her. The Know-it-All may appear frightening, but is probably just out to challenge her students. She will offer help – that’s what she’s there for.
Name: The Yawn
Qualities: Extremely boring, monotonous voice, repetitive lessons, uncreative assignments, no imagination whatsoever.
Favorite Saying: “And the answer is…hello? Hello? Is anyone listening?”
Good Points: The Yawn is usually not too demanding. He asks you to do the work – nothing more, nothing less. You always have an idea of how to complete his assignments because they’re always the same.
Bad Points: This class is just a dread to attend; plus, you may have difficulty remembering what points were made during his lessons since you were too busy daydreaming. His teaching just makes the whole class want to fall asleep. In fact, you did hear someone snoring the other day…
How to Please: Just do his work. Need something to keep yourself pleased? Make flashcards, study with a group of friends, or take your textbook outside if it’s a nice day and relax while reviewing his notes. Changing up your study habits can help make the material easier to absorb.
1 Step Further: If you’re daring, talk to The Yawn in private. Express your concern for your grades and ask him for some advice on how to better prepare for his class even if your grades are fine. You may be surprised by his answers. Boring teachers might actually be nice, exciting people in disguise. If you’re up for it, you can even casually suggest exciting projects or extra credit assignments for him to consider; even if he doesn’t use your ideas, he’ll definitely appreciate your interest in his class.
Name: The Nosy One
Qualities: Tries to be “cool”, knows all the latest hits on the radio, talks to you while you’re with friends, takes an interest in your relationships, offers you advice
Favorite Saying: “So who are you dating now?”
Good Points: This teacher is your friend – and a very good one at that. She won’t gossip about you and may even give you some cool life advice. The Nosy One will also understand if you’re not feeling well or are having a bad day and might cut you some slack in class. She can be funny, too!
Bad Points: There is such a thing as getting too involved. The Nosy One can get annoying, constantly asking you about your personal life and other topics that she may have no business knowing about. She may embarrass you in front of your friends, or worse, try to play matchmaker between you and members of the opposite sex! If you’re not into having a teacher as a buddy, her constant involvement can grow into a huge problem.
How to Please: Understand that her intentions are good. Keep your grades up in her class and make it known that you are there in her classroom for your studies. At the same time, let her joke around and continue to offer support as long as you’re comfortable with it. If The Nosy One starts to go too far, politely change the subject or let her know you’re not comfortable with discussing personal things like that.
1 Step Further: If her nosiness persists, try talking to her one-on-one, voicing your concern. She’ll probably be a little embarrassed and apologize.
Name: The Sweetheart
Qualities: Easy grader, gives you answers, lackadaisical, lets you get away with anything in class, wants to please her students, super nice and generous
Favorite Saying: “Oh no problem, hand it in whenever’s best for you.”
Good Points: Consider yourself lucky! This is an easy class to pass. The Sweetheart understands that you have other classes to juggle and tries to minimize your workload as much as possible. You can talk in her class, hand in assignments a little late, ask her for advice, do plenty of extra credit, and you can occasionally afford to slack off.
Bad Points: You may not learn anything in this class, and as a result you may have difficulty passing midterms and final exams or moving on to other classes next year. Slacking off in her class could become a habit that you adopt in other classes as well.
How to Please: As long as you stay organized in this class, you’ll be fine. Don’t let yourself get too lazy, otherwise you’ll have wasted an entire course which won’t do you much good later on. Be nice to her, too – she’s doing you a favor by being so sweet!
1 Step Further: Request extra work. (I can already hear you whispering “yeah right”.)
Name: The Favorite-Picker
Qualities: Likes suck-ups and “artsy/pretty” projects, has a teacher’s pet (or two), generally gives the same grades to the same people, grants favors for particular students
Favorite Saying: “Well done Mary – always participating! Wonderful, Mary! That’s correct Mary!”
Good Points: If you’re the favorite, this section is self-explanatory.
Bad Points: If you’re not the favorite, you might dislike this teacher’s class. If you’re his least favorite, you probably can’t stand him. The Favorite-Picker compares your grades with their best students, and as a result may grade your work to be poorer than it actually is. This can be especially frustrating if you truly work hard in his class and put a lot of effort into your assignments.
How to Please: During the first couple of weeks of school, be a sweetheart and do A+ work in all of your classes in case you do have a teacher that does indeed play favorites. Of course, if you’re more than halfway done with the school year you’ll have trouble doing this – but it doesn’t hurt to try doing your best work now if you’re not doing so already. The Favorite-Picker might catch on and start grading you to your advantage. If you’re really struggling to pass the class or feel like your work is being graded unfairly, stand up for yourself! Assert yourself and let him know that you feel you deserve better. Back your complaints up with proof – point out specific details in your projects or assignments; it’ll show that you really care about your grades and have actual reasons as to why you think they should be raised.
1 Step Further: Talk to The Favorite-Picker as many times as you need to if your grades are still unfair. If talking directly to The Favorite-Picker does not work, try playing his game; ask his “favorite” students what they do to get the grades they do in his class. Tell your parents or an administrator and let them have a word with your teacher if all else fails.